KEEP ON LIVING
_____I sat on the bed, holding a thirty-eight caliber weapon in my hand Thoughts of pullingthe trigger, as I gently pressed the nozzle against my short, white, afro hair. There had to be a way out of this relationship, without me killing myself or my spirit.
_____I wanted to leave the relationship and her house. Part of my possessions were already packed and stored in the basement and in the downstairs bedroom, where I had retreated to escape Li’s screaming. I knew there was something that had to be left behind and it was not going to be my soul. Li had known for months of my plans to leave her and “her house” and she kept the threats and material blackmail coming.
_____My car was leased in her name and she warned me she would cancel the lease and pay the penalty before she let me take my car and that is just what she did. I made all of the payments and would have continue to make them, whether I was with her or not. I was not leaving her for another woman. I was leaving Li for me. Even when I suggested staying another six months in different bedrooms until I could get a car in my own name, was met with cursing and yelling. How dare me to expect her to give me any concessions. When it was me who wanted to leave. “GET OUT NOW!”
_____Get out now? My storage crate is still in the driveway half packed and my lease to my new apartment will not be ready for another three days. Li insisted that I leave her house right then, without a car. She had one of her ex-lovers drive my Rav-4 out of the driveway the day before and also insisted that I return my cell phone and my electric tooth brush, given as gifts. She, was willing to let me have her old vibrator and her favorite dildo. I had to find some place to spend the next three days until my apartment was ready and Li would not let me use the phone unless she was on the other end. The woman took vacation time from her job to terrorize my ass.
_____So, I sat there on the bed having made the decision to take my life, in a State where I knew no one and in “her house” where I was not going to be allowed to live spiritually or physically. This woman was not going to let me leave gracefully and I could not see a way out. Lord, I don’t want to tell this story, but I have to. I gently squeezed the trigger just as Li burst through the door, knocking my packed boxes across the room. Calmly, I pointed the pistol at her head and she stopped, her fist in mid air just as it was about to collide with my face.
_____Her heels were stuck into the rug like the cartoon coyote. Li was scared shitless. She had a BIG MOUTH, but this shit was too much for her.
_____She never knew nor will I ever tell her that she saved my life, by bursting into the room like a nut. It is a sad commentary when you rather die than stay with a person. How did it defined Li or me? I had to find another way to escape and I could not wait three more days.
_____ “Battered women’s shelter,” the voice on the other end of the phone answer in responce to my call, the next morning. “Do you need a place to stay?”
_____“Yes,” was my reply. The woman was in the process of giving me the address when she realized or could hear Li breathing on the phone upstairs. After repeatedly asking Li to hang up the phone and not getting an answer, the woman called the police and ten minutes later, when I answer the knock on the door there were three police officers there. The officers were there to transport me to the shelter, where I refused to go because, I only had ten minutes to pack what I needed.
_____Li refused to talk except to tell them I had a weapon used for target practice. One of the officers asked for it, and said it would be returned in seven days. Li indicated to the officers that she feared for her life. Her life? Here I was, the night before about to kill myself and she never knew. The bitch saved my life without knowing it. I wanted to end my pain. She could have kept on living. I wanted a way out and if death was it. I was willing to GO THERE! She did not have a hint, because it was all about her and had always been about her. I felt the pain and I have to take some of the blame.
_____Why in the hell didn’t I leave when she was on that last business trip? There I was worried about material shit, but I didn’t have any reservations about taking my own life. My shit was messed up. I can’t blame it on my mama.
_____Mama did not teach me any remedy for this (dead in her grave for thirty years) and I doubt she could have helped me, if she had been alive. This shit was too much for me. It would have been too much for her, too.
_____Yet, it was my mama’s spirit and the spirit of Mother God that got me through the next few weeks and continue to sustain me, feeding me daily with the strength of my female ancestors in Africa and America. I know it was my mama and the spirits because I did not know a soul in this State, including Li.
_____I felt their presence a day later when I was served an EX PARTE ORDER FOR PROTECTION FROM ABUSE and was evicted from “her house” and given ten minutes to pack. I felt the spirit of my mother when I was standing in the street at nine-thirty at night with sixteen cents in my pocket and no place to lay my head.
_____I also felt the shame. Yes, it was the shame and the humilation, and thinking “My mama did not raise me like this.” The sense of shame was intensified seven days later when my Black ass had to go to court. Lord, I hope my mama took the day off. She would have turned over in her grave. There I was, standing in front of a judge with Li. Pussy has brought me to this. MY! MY! MY! Where was the laughter coming from?
_____The people in the courtroom were laughing their asses off, after Li was granted a PROTECTIVE ORDER. The judge ordered quiet and threaten to clear the room. I would have laughed my damn self, if it had not been me up there. I sneaked a peep behind me and saw the Black woman who had already tried my case before we went into the court room.
_____She was the one, who could not believe I was the Respondent and Li was the Petitioner. “What? That woman could have squash you like a bug,” she said in that beautiful West Indian accent. The sister was there to emotionally support her ex-husband’s wife and to testify in the beaten wife’s behalf. Now, is that a sister or what?
_____The West Indian sister was amazed. I had to tell her the truth. She was my sister. All that misery and the battered sisters took the time to laugh at my ass! I had to laugh myself. The common denominator was; we as Black women had taken an ass whipping, mentally, verbally, emotionally and a whole lot more, and the Black women in the court was not letting the fact that, we were two women, keep them from taking sides.
_____Marilyn (Li) and I arrived at the court’s clerk’s desk at the same time to obtain the Judges final order (gun charges dismissed). “My, you have a fine looking lawyer.” The clerk said to Li. “Oh, I am not her lawyer.” I said. “Well, you are a fine looking lawyer, anyway,” the clerk said.
_____I had to smile. Couldn’t claim it.
_____Lord, help me to transfer the inner part of me to its original state. My sisters and God have helped me to restore the parts of me that were dead. Li, by mistake kept me from killing the living part. My path and my sight is clear. I am going to keep on living!
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